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Scott Wesley Brown: The Old Hymns Made New
Artist: Scott Wesley Brown
Label: Devotion Music
Time: 12 Tracks /46:21 minutes
Whenever a cover is done of a song it is inevitably compared to the original tune. This, however, is not a probable scenario for the newest self titled offering from Scott Wesley Brown in Devotion Music’s _The Old Hymns Made New_ series. The songs which were reworked and produced in conjunction with Billy Smiley and Jeff Nelson were all written between the 17th and 19th centuries. It is doubtful anyone reading this is old enough to compare the cover of these hymns to the presentation by the original cast.
Easily the best song on the entire album is "For the Beauty of the Earth." Brown is joined on this number by classically trained Kristina who has a world class voice and whose lighter ethereal vocals do well to compliment Brown’s deeper baritone vocals. Kristina provides the introductory vocals, Brown sings the bulk of the song and at one point the two combine for a duet.
When I spoke with Billy Smiley in July he expressed a passion for restoring a treasury of hymns that he sees as almost forgotten by the modern day church. In fact, I teased him about a pioneer Christian rocker becoming such an avid fan and advocate for reworking the old standards. Smiley’s passion is shared by Joe Bubar who was responsible for the choir vocal arrangements on this album.
The music industry tends to be cyclical in nature and the first track, "Praise to the Lord Almighty (He Is Worthy of Honor)" brought back memories from many years ago when I was still new to Christianity. Backed by rich choral vocals Brown leads us uplifting praise for our God. If you haven’t heard a penny whistle before then you are in for a real treat as one is used as an instrumental accompaniment on this hymn.
Scott Wesley Brown’s album gives you flexibility other genres of music don’t often afford such as providing an ambience for conversations with friends. Instead of finding your loyalties divided between your friends and the music you should find the conversation and music harmonize quite well.
The rich vocals of the Scottsdale Bible Church choir and an ensemble described in the liner notes as Worship Team Vocals are well worth the price of this CD.
We haven’t spent a lot of time talking about Scott Wesley Brown and that is simply because there is so much going on in this album that really he is only one part of the equation. You might say this CD operates much like an orchestra, remove the woodwind section or remove the strings and you have a completely different sound and no longer have a complete orchestra. This album is well worth the investment and it gets high fives all around from this reviewer.
By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved
Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.